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Pictures of Money / Flickr CC

The issue:

Part of the GOP case for repealing the Affordable Care Act is that it has made insurance more expensive or even unaffordable for many people.

"In some cases, insurance premiums and out-of-pocket expenses have become families' most significant expenses," White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters last week.

The facts:
  • Millions of people have gained health insurance under the ACA. The previously uninsured are now paying premiums, but also have better access to care, less out-of-pocket costs and protection from crippling medical bills.
  • Millions of the newly insured are now on Medicaid, through the ACA's expansion of the program. These people now have access to care and are paying little to no premium or out-of-pocket costs.
  • But people who bought coverage in the individual market pre-ACA are now paying higher premiums on average, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation's Larry Levitt. This is because people with pre-existing conditions can now get insurance at the same rate as everyone else, which raises premiums for healthier people.
  • Premiums on exchanges increased by about 25 percent from the year before in 2017 and are expected to rise again next year, although not as drastically. That's because some insurers are getting more sick people than they predicted, but they're also not getting the federal help they expected.
  • For some people, deductibles are higher. But plans are required to cover a comprehensive set of benefits under the ACA — many of which weren't covered previously, so people had to pay for them out of pocket.
  • Spending on each person with health coverage is growing less rapidly post-ACA than it did before the law was passed, Matthew Fiedler of the Brookings Institution points out.
Why it matters:

It's true that healthy people are paying more for coverage — but it's also true that sick people are paying less. Health policy always creates winners and losers. There is no such thing as perfect health reform, and someone is always going to pay more or less than they currently do.

Go deeper

8 mins ago - World

China and Russia vaccinate the world — for now

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

While the U.S. and Europe focus on vaccinating their own populations, China and Russia are sending millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses to countries around the world.

Why it matters: China's double success in controlling its domestic outbreak and producing several viable vaccines has allowed it to focus on providing doses abroad — an effort that could help to save lives across several continents.

Ina Fried, author of Login
17 mins ago - Technology

Report: China will dominate AI unless U.S. invests more

Photo illustration: Axios Visuals. Photo: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The U.S., which once had a dominant head start in artificial intelligence, now has just a few year's lead on China and risks being overtaken unless government steps in, according to a new report to Congress and the White House.

Why it matters: Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who chaired the committee that issued the report, tells Axios that the U.S. risks dire consequences if it fails to both invest in key technologies and fully integrate AI into the military.

Americans agree about more issues than they realize

Data: Populace Inc.; Chart: Michelle McGhee/Axios

Many Americans assume the rest of the country doesn't share their political and policy priorities — but they're often wrong, according to new polling by Populace, first seen by Axios.

Why it matters: The polling reveals that despite growing political polarization, Americans share similar long-term goals and priorities for the country.